By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — The attorney representing the Village of Colfax and a Dunn County circuit court judge agreed it was a unique situation that neither of them would probably ever see again.
Judge James Peterson approved a new plat for the second addition to Evergreen Cemetery in Colfax during a hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court November 4.
The new plat of the cemetery was necessary to correct discrepancies between the plat map of the cemetery and what actually exists out at the cemetery.
The problems with the plat map were discovered when Ron Jasperson, a surveyor for Cedar Corporation, was working on the plat for the third addition to Evergreen Cemetery, said Ken Schofield, the attorney representing the village board.
The Colfax Village Board approved the certified survey map of the third addition earlier this year, which is located on land to the east of the existing cemetery deeded over to the village by the Colfax school district.
Peoples State Bank had deeded 28 acres to the Colfax school district in 1943 to be used for a school forest. According to the warranty deed, the land was to be used by the school district for “reforestation purposes,” and when the school district was no longer using the land for trees, the land could only be used for a cemetery.
The new plat for the second addition rectifies the problems with the old plat, Schofield said.
Judge Peterson ruled that the notice for the petition for a new plat for the second addition to Evergreen Cemetery had been properly published for three weeks on October 1, October 8 and October 15.
Judge Peterson also asked if the village had received any objections to the new plat.
Schofield said that neither he nor the village board had heard of any objections or received any written complaints.
No one will be disenfranchised by the new plat; no property will be changing hands; no loved ones buried at the cemetery will be disturbed, he said.
The problems with the second addition plat must be corrected before the register of deeds office can record the plat for the third addition, Schofield noted.
According to the petition to the court, a number of discrepancies existed between the plat map and what is “on the ground” at the cemetery.
The second addition to Evergreen Cemetery was recorded at the Dunn County Register of Deeds office on July 24, 1945.
One problem with the old plat is that existing roadways did not match up with the roads indicated on the map and that the road at the back of the cemetery covered several burial plots that had never been sold.
Another problem is that lot numbers established by the plat in Block 2 of the Second Addition did not match up with lot numbers used by the village. For example, the map calls one lot “43,” but the village referred to it as “44.” There are a total of 18 mis-numbered lots.
The petition also specifies that the lots located in the roadway be vacated.
In addition, the village created and sold certain lots that did not exist in Block 2. The petition specifies that the lots be renumbered and placed into the Third Addition. The renumbering of the lots does not change their physical location.
For example, Block 2 Lot 56 Second Addition becomes Block 3 Lot 54 Third Addition.
“We need to do something,” Schofield told the court.
The original plat for the second addition does not dovetail with the plat for the third addition, he said.
Judge Peterson noted that no one had attended the court hearing to speak either for or against the new plat and that the notice had been published and sent out to the appropriate people.
Scott Gunnufson, village president, attended the hearing as a representative of the village board but did not address the court.
The description of the cemetery must be accurate, and it is in the public interest to approve the new plat, Judge Peterson said.
Judge Peterson signed the order for the new plat and assured Schofield that a certified copy of the paperwork would be filed with the Register of Deeds office.
Schofield noted that this was the first time in his career that he has had to work on a new plat of an existing cemetery.
“I am willing to bet that you will never have another replat (of a cemetery) as a circuit court judge,” he said.
The Third Addition to Evergreen Cemetery will add 2,450 burial lots and 480 cremation lots.
The new addition will include a “spreading garden” for ashes. State law prohibits spreading all of the ashes, but a portion of the ashes of a loved one can be spread in the garden.
The CSM shows the spreading garden to be 160 feet and 36 feet wide on the north side of the cemetery.
Evergreen Cemetery was located in the Town of Colfax up until recently.
The Colfax Village Board held a public hearing on annexing the cemetery in February of this year and subsequently approved annexing Evergreen Cemetery into the village limits.